John G. Manuel
18and it is an honour to our home town, that you lived and enjoyed all these happy, previous years in the open, and that you have written of this old world, and passed it on to benefit and cheer thousands of less favoured ones, who love the open, but are compelled to stay within sight of sun-baked blocks, walk on heated tar streets, and listen to discordant jangle of telephone bells, and sundry other inconveniences of commercialism. No doubt you too have had your trials and sorrows, no one escapes those, but I cannot but help thinking that you have had a happy life, wandering where you pleased, and listening to the voices of the silence. Surely you must be well content. Somewhere I read that a friend of the late Lord19Kelvin, asked him shortly before his death, how he summed up the achievements of his life, and his reply was one word "Failure". I have quoted that several times and then ask. If Lord Kelvin, with his compass, sounding lead, and other inventions, and a life crammed with delving, sums it all up as "Failure", what of us ordinary toiling grubbers? Or is it the case that the deeper great men delve, the more dissatisfied they become? Thomas Carlyle went out, lamenting his lack of knowledge of the stars, and I oftimes think that entire satisfaction is only a theory after all. And so I have part compensation in knowing a few of the stars that Carlyle did not know. Sometimes I have to work out-doors all night, and it is a 05419
1913 Apr 8
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25 cm.
Reel 21, Image 0305
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